DMM.com will open “DMM Kariyushi Aquarium (provisional name).” The aquarium will be opened sometime during the first half of 2020.
Upholding the main theme of, “the world’s first augmented reality entertainment aquarium which uses the latest projection technologies,” the aquarium will combine the latest projection technologies and various kinds of animals/fish in a sea based in the settings such as “Okinawa’s clear sea,” “evergreen forest of an island” and “wonderful nature in subtropical zone.”
The aquarium will offer an exciting and relaxing experience to the visitors.
The venue where the aquarium will be built will include a shopping center which will be built beside Chura SUN Beach. The venue is close to the entrance of Okinawa, “Naha Airport.” A 20-minute car ride will get you to this venue.
In addition, the aquarium will offer some exhibits combining “real×virtual” using the latest projection technologies in addition to exhibiting fish tanks. They will create spaces which do not look like a commercial establishment using dynamic visuals representing seasons, time and the beauty of nature.
Updates of details will be uploaded on their website subsequently.
Don’t miss this new spot – “DMM Kariyushi Aquarium (provisional name)” which will be opened in Okinawa.
Ikebukuro’s Sunshine Aquarium to Open Magical New Jellyfish Area
01.July.2020 | SPOT
Sunshine Aquarium in Ikebukuro, Tokyo is set to open its brand new jellyfish area as part of the aquarium’s third major renovation on July 9, 2020.
Jellyfish Panorama Tank
Two tanks will grace this area: the magnificent moon jellyfish will dance across the 14-meter wide “Jellyfish Panorama” tank, while sea nettle jellyfish, which are known for their long tentacles, will swim in the “Jellyfish Screen.”
The jellyfish exhibit already in Sunshine Aquarium is also being renovated, with gorgeous new flooring and walls being put in place. Six tanks will be housed here, including the 360° “Jellyfish Tunnel,” “Jellyfish Loop,” “Jellyfish Drop,” and “Jellyfish Dream.”
A Spectacular Performance of Music, Smells, and Lighting
The new jellyfish area will feature original sounds newly recorded to capture the vibe of the jellyfish’s movements. There will also be special fragrances you can smell, as well as beautiful lighting that twinkles like the swaying of the water. All of this serves to make visitors feel calm and relaxed.
Exclusive Tully’s Coffee Beverage
T’s Splash Nata de Coco in Oasis: Have-In ¥649 / Takeout ¥637
This refreshing carbonated drink is inspired by jellyfish filled with lemon flavoured nata de coco coconut jelly. Exclusive to Sunshine Aquarium, the drink comes with one of four possible special jellyfish straw flags.
Grand Opening Commemoration Products
High Grade Jellyfish Confection: ¥400
Limited in stock, this confection was made in collaboration with Ikebukuro’s long-stand confectionery shop Ikebukuro Miharado and also under the guidance of the aquarium’s jellyfish staff.
Jellyfish Konjac: ¥972
Konjac shaped just like real jellyfish.
Grand Opening Commemoration Menu
Jellyfish Cold Greens: ¥1,100 / CHUKA SHUNSAI RYOURI・HINABE SHU (Alpa Floor 3F)
Blue Hawaii Tiny Aquarium & Jellyfish Jelly: ¥495 AGIO (Alpa Floor 3F) *15 served per day
Select restaurants in Sunshine City Alpa will also serve up some limited-time jellyfish-inspired dishes and drinks from July 9 to celebrate the opening of Sunshine Aquarium.
Address: Sunshine City World Import Mart Bldg. Rooftop, 3-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 9:30-21:00 (until September 10) / 10:00-18:00 (from September 11)
General (High School Students and Older) ¥2,200 (¥2,400 from July 9)
Children (Elementary & Junior High School Students) ¥1,200
Infants (Aged 4+ Years): ¥700
Official Website: https://sunshinecity.jp/
*Photos are for illustrative purposes only. All listed prices are tax-inclusive.
Kawasaki Aquarium to Open Inside Kawasaki Le FRONT This Summer
29.June.2020 | SPOT
Aqua Live Investment is set to open Kawasaki Aquarium, which will also be known as Kawa Sui for short, on floors 9F and 10F of Kawasaki Le FRONT, a shopping centre in front of Kawasaki Station, on July 17, 2020.
In the lead up to its grand opening, Kawasaki Aquarium launched its own official app, as well as opened purchases of Annual Passports to the aquarium, on June 17.
What is Kawasaki Aquarium all about?
The theme of Kawasaki Aquarium is “The World’s Beautiful Waters.” It will showcase creatures and living things from around the world—from the waters of Tama River which flows through Kawasaki to Asia, Africa, and the Amazon in South America—using the latest technology combining lighting, sound, and visuals.
There are three kinds of Annual Passports to choose from which let you access Kawasaki Aquarium as many times as you want throughout the year. They are valid for an entire year and let you bypass the ticket counter so you don’t have to line up. These passports can be bought via the aquarium’s official app before its grand opening. After that they can be bought either on the app or directly at the aquarium at the Passport counter.
Those who purchase an Annual Passport between June 17, 2020 and July 16, 2020 will receive an extra free two months on top of their guaranteed 12 months.
3 Annual Passport Types
Dual Passport: Daytime & Nighttime
Allowed Entry Times: [Day] 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:00) / [Night] 18:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:00)
Prices (Tax Included): Adults ¥6,000 / High School Students ¥4,500 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥3,600 / Children (4+ Years) ¥1,800
Daytime Passport: Daytime Only
Allowed Entry Times: [Day] 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:00)
Prices (Tax Included): Adults ¥4,000 / High School Students ¥3,000 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥2,400 / Children (4+ Years) ¥1,200
Nighttime Passport: Nighttime Only
Allowed Entry Times: [Night] 18:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:00)
Prices (Tax Included): Adults ¥4,000 / High School Students ¥3,000 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥2,400 / Children (4+ Years) ¥1,200
Experience the aquarium at night
Kawasaki Aquarium is open everyday until 22:00. Visiting the aquarium at this time offers a completely different experience as warm lights set the mood and different sounds play from daytime hours. It’s also a chance to see nocturnal creatures that only come out at night. Plus, the aquarium serves alcohol and bar food in the evenings.
Download the app
The Kawasaki Aquarium app is free to download and lets guests enjoy coupons with their Annual Passport, gives them the latest news about upcoming events, lets them access the online shop, and more.
Kawasaki Aquarium (Kawa Sui)
Address: Kawasaki Le FRONT (Floors 9F-10F), 1-11 Nisshinchō, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Opening Hours: [Day] 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:00) / [Night] 18:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:00)
Official Website: https://kawa-sui.com
*No refunds are given on Annual Passports
*Student ID required for students
*Free entry for those aged 3-years and below
*Those aged 12-years and below must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 16+
A Cafe With a View: Okinawa’s New Seaside Cafe ‘Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe’ Opens This July
27.June.2020 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts’s new cafe Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will open in the village of Yomitan in Okinawa on July 1, 2020, offering a spectacular view.
The cafe is split into four distinct areas which overlook the the beach from atop a cliff. Customers are invited to take in the breathtaking scenery with a delicious dessert made from ingredients like mangoes, pineapple, and sugar—or a tasty meal.
An incredible beach cafe overlooking the sea
Banta Cafe runs along the western coast of Yomitan, a village in central Okinawa which is about an hour’s drive from Naha Airport. The cafe gets its name from iyumibanta which in Okinawan dialect refers to the cliffs you climb to spot the shadows of fish in the water, and is also the name they give to enormous rocks. The cafe is located atop one of these iyumibanta, or cliffs, making Banta Cafe a fitting name. From the cliff, customers can enjoy a panoramic view of the horizon which stretches across infinity. According to Hoshino Resorts, Banta Cafe sits as the largest beach cafe in Japan, spanning 1600㎡.
4 Unique Areas to Pick From
Having four distinct areas to choose from means you can select where you want to go depending on your mood on the day. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Rooftop Deck: A panoramic view welcomes you
Beyond the entrance is the Rooftop Deck which offers an unbroken view of the horizon. With the comfortable shadow cast by the eaves of the roof, and the sound of the rolling waves and wind, it feels like you’re sitting on the deck of a boat.
Beach Terrace: Kick back and enjoy the sea breeze
The Beach Terrace is located along a footpath that leads from the top of the cliff down to the beach. This spacious area sits nice and close to the sea. The Okinawan Ryukyu-tatami flooring has cushions for you to sit on as well as cabanas, so you can sit and chat with people while enjoying the view of the ocean, offering the real Okinawan experience.
Rocky Terrace: Lose yourself in the green wild of nature
The Rocky Terrace is enveloped in plants and vegetation that has grown naturally—it’s like a hideaway created by nature. The area has a wooden deck and rocking chairs for people to kick back and relax in, and there are tables with towering rocks that offer shade too.
Goro Goro Lounge: Lay down on a sofa and look out to the sea
The final area is the Goro Goro Lounge where an entire wall is made up of open windows. Here, you can relax and lay down nice and comfy on the sofas. There are long tables by the sofas too, perfect for pulling out a map or guidebook and planning the rest of your trip.
A true Okinawan cafe experience
Bubbly Jelly Soda
The cafe’s “Bully Jelly Soda” is inspired from a traditional bubbly Okinawan tea called bukubuku cha. It’s flavoured with lemongrass and mint and contains different jellies like mango and hibiscus.
This gelato ice cream gets its name from the Okinawan word for delicious which is chura. Choose from a variety of classic Okinawan flavours like pineapple and guava and top your ice cream with purple yam and bitter melon chips, chinsuko, and more.
The food lineup is to die for, with tasty bites like pizza toast topped with bitter melon, pork and egg rice ball which is a soul food of Okinawa, hot dogs filled with juicy sausages, shrimp fritters served with mango sauce, fried chicken, and plenty of other finger food.
Witness the magnificent sunset during business hours
Banta Cafe is home to a gorgeous beach with coral. The sea is cobalt blue as far as the eyes can see, there are strangely shaped rocks worn by the waves, and in the evenings is an incredible view of the sunset which can be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand.
Hoshino Resorts Olu Grill
Banta Cafe will also have its own separate grilled food restaurant called Olu Grill. Olu is another Okinawan word which means “blue,” in this case referring to the blue ocean. From fried steak served with an original sauce made from Okinawan awamori liquor and kurozu black vinegar to seafood and juicy burgers, there’s plenty to fill you up.
Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe / Olu Grill
Grand Opening: July 1, 2020
Address: 560 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 60-minutes by car from Naha Airport / 90-minutes by limousine bus from Naha Airport
Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe
Opening Hours: 10:00 until sunset
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/
*Breakfast service available from mid-July 2020. Serving hours will be 7:00-9:30
Hoshino ResortsOlu Grill
Opening Hours: [Dinner] 17:00-21:00 (Last Orders 20:30)
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/olu-grill/
*Reservations required. Lunch service available from mid-July 2020. Serving hours will be 11:00-15:00.
THIRD ishigakijima: Okinawa’s New Island Hopping Hotel to Open in July
07.June.2020 | SPOT
Due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Star Resort had to postpone the opening of THIRD ishigakijima, a new hotel in Okinawa originally scheduled to open in April 2020. However, it has been confirmed that the hotel’s new grand opening date is July 31, 2020.
Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa which faces Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal, a port that connects Okinawa to remote islands like Taketomi Island and Iriomote Island. Many tourists and sightseers flock to Ishigaki to hop to all the different islands it connects to.
The new THIRD ishigakijima hotel is a perfect choices for groups of travellers, with its room that can accommodate over 3 guests. As well as hotel food, drinks and alcohol, THIRD ishigakijima also offers various activities to guests like shisha, fitness, and more. The hotel is all-inclusive, something which isn’t offered that much on Ishigaki.
The hotel also benefits from a self check-in system accessed using a QR code. Rooms are also accessed using a facial recognition system, making THIRD ishigakijima a tech-savvy experience.
The hotel is adopting guidelines from the government on operating hotels during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to protect its staff, guests, and local islanders.
Address: 4-7 Misakicho, Ishigaki, Okinawa
Guest Rooms: 28 (21 Loft Rooms/3 Suite Rooms/3 Twin Rooms)
Facilities: Cafe & Lounge, Book Lounge, Rooftop, Fitness
No Car Park
Access: 30-minutes on foot from Ritoh Terminal / 30-minutes by car or bus from Painushima Ishigaki Airport
Official Website: https://hotelthird.com/
Help Rescue Sumida Aquarium’s Spotted Garden Eels by Showing Your Face Online
29.April.2020 | SPOT
Something unprecedented is happening over at Sumida Aquarium. The living creatures at the aquarium are starting to forget about humans as a result of the building’s closure in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, save for the aquarium staff who are looking after them. In the case of their spotted garden eels, the eels are now hiding in the sand, even when the aquarium staff check in on them.
What exactly is happening with the spotted garden eels?
Spotted garden eels by nature are extremely fragile and alert creatures, and so are prone to diving under the sand to hide themselves. Around 300 of these eels live in a single tank at Sumida Aquarium, and since they are used to people being in the aquarium all the time, they rarely bury themselves even when people get close. However, since the closure of Sumida Aquarium on March 1, 2020, a change has been seen in the spotted garden eels.
Humans not being around is the new norm for the eels. It’s as if they have forgotten about the existence of humans, and now hide themselves away when the staff come through. With the eels no longer showing themselves to the staff, it has becoming difficult to run daily checks to see if the eels are unwell, famished, and so on. The change of environment may even lead to stress of the eels fighting. It has become a serious problem for the staff to ensure they are living an adequate quality of life.
That is where Sumida Aquarium’s “Spotted Garden Eel Face Reveal Festival” comes into play. The aquarium has called for emergency measures for people to video call in to show their faces to the eels so they don’t forget about humans and so they no longer feel afraid of people being around.
Spotted Garden Eel Face Reveal Festival
The festival is a chance for people to meet the spotted garden eels from their own home by using an iPhone, iPad or computer to call in using video chat. As long as you can video call, anyone is free to join. Two sessions will be held per day where people can see the eels pop their heads out of the sand, feed, and so on.
This is the first time Sumida Aquarium has held such a project, and it may or may not work, but they won’t know unless they try. Check the dates below and see if you can get involved.
May 3rd @ 10:30-14:00 (JST)
May 4th @ 10:30-14:00 (JST)
May 5th @ 10:30-14:00 (JST)
How to Participate
Use an iPhone or an iPad to FaceTime any of the Gmail addresses below.i
１）Open the FaceTime app and enter any of the Gmail addresses. Select video call.
２）Screens will be placed in front of the water tanks with the spotted garden eels live. Once the call starts, show your face, wave your hand, and call out to them. Please note that talking loudly is strictly prohibited.
３）5 screens was the limit of what could be set up. They ask for you to call for only 5 minutes so that many different people can show their face so it feels like lots of people at a festival.
*The aquarium apologies if the eels don’t show themselves
*The aquarium apologies in the case that anything goes wrong with the call
*Only iOS can be used at this time and not Android OS
Beautiful Jellyfish Umbrellas Designed by Kamo Aquarium Will Keep You Dry
26.April.2020 | FASHION
YOU+MORE!, a brand of humorous merchandise and accessories developed by Felissimo, has teamed up with the famous Kamo Aquarium to release a series of jellyfish umbrellas.
The intricate umbrella designs were developed in cooperation with the staff at Kamo Aquarium’s Jellyfish Dream House. Three different kinds of jellyfish were used as inspiration for the umbrellas.
Moon Jelly Umbrella
YOU+MORE! Moon Jelly Umbrella – ¥1,600
Moon jellyfish are perhaps one of the most popular kinds of jellyfish out there. What may be the most striking part of this umbrella is the colour gradation which gives it a transparent effect. The edges of the umbrella are also curved, giving it a delicate silhouette and making it look even more like the real things.
The umbrella’s frames are built strong, and the material of the umbrella itself is a white glass fibre which serves not only to mimic the colour of a moon jelly, but so that you can still see through it too. (As a side note, all three of the umbrella designs are made from glass fibre.)
Northern Sea Nettle Umbrella
YOU+MORE! Northern Sea Nettle Umbrella – ¥1,600
Like the northern sea nettle itself, this umbrella features a dome shape and incorporates a stripe design. A northern sea nettle has 16 stripes, and so that many were added to the umbrella. The jellyfish staff at the aquarium praised this one as the most realistic.
YOU+MORE! Spotted Jelly Umbrella – ¥1,600
Like the northern sea nettle, the spotted jelly too as a cute dome-shaped body. If someone who has never seen one of these jellyfish umbrellas before sees this design, they’ll think of it as just having cute spotted design. However, a jellyfish enthusiast is sure to get excited as the sight of this one with its details like its orange colour and the dots around the edges.
Kamo Aquarium will begin selling limited edition versions from the end of June this year which come with an ephyra charmーthat’s the name for a baby jellyfish. The aquarium is currently closed until May 6 due to the coronavirus. The latest updates can be found on their official website.
Address: Okubo-657-1 Imaizumi, Tsuruoka, Yamagata
Official Website (Japanese): https://kamo-kurage.jp/
Official Website (English): https://kamo-kurage.jp/english/
Kanucha Resort in Okinawa Announces Spring and Summer Activity Program for 2020
06.April.2020 | SPOT
Located in the city of Nago in Okinawa lies Kanucha Resort, a hotel resort which boasts 2.6 million square meters of land. The resort has revealed its spring and summer program which invites guests to enjoy everything Okinawa has to offerーnot just its breathtaking oceans.
What is Kanucha Resort?
Kanucha Resort sits on the east coast of Nago on the northern part of the Okinawa mainland. It’s surrounded by the vast rolling sea and mother nature, and also faces Oura Bay, which is known for its coral reefs, which includes blue coral. Guest rooms come in nine styles, all of which incorporate gorgeous wooden decor. The resort has a bounty of restaurants, its own golf course, the beach, and over 70 activities to choose from, all of which makes Kanucha Resort a little town of its own. In the past winter months just gone, it also celebrate the 20th anniversary of Okinawa’s largest illumination event, Stardust Fantasia.
Buggy Ride Tours & Buggy Adventure Tours
Experience a different side of Okinawa away from the beaches with an off-road ride through Yanbaru no Mori Forest on a quad bike.
Running: All Year
Meeting Locations: Buggy Ride Tour @ Dokidoki Yambarunture / Buggy Adventure Tour @ Matayoshi Coffee Farm
Ages: 4 years and older
Coral Snorkeling Tour in Banana Boats
Witness the tropical fish swimming around you, and gaze upon the gorgeous coral reefs, as you explore the waters below when you climb off the banana boat.
Running: July 23, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 5 to 65 years
Mangrove Kayak Tour Along the Kesaji River
The Okinawan mainland is home to many mangroves. See them together with the expand of Yanbaru’s nature with a kayak ride along the Kesaji River.
Running: All Year
Time: Subject to change each day depending on how busy it is – please enquire directly
Courses: 150 Minutes (5 years and older) / 90 Minutes (3 years and older)
Star Sommelier to Space Walk
Hear about the moon and space with talks from Hoshi no Somurie® (“Star Sommeliers”) and use a telescope to observe the stars at the planetarium.
Meeting Point: Leisure Counter
Oura Mangrove Kayak
Enjoy a round trip kayak ride around the Oura Mangrove which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Nago.
Running: All Year Round
Time: Please enquire directly
Ages: 3 years old and above (*For guests only)
Meeting Point: Wansaka Oura Park
For more details on the activities available at Kanucha Resort, visit their website here.
Address: 156-2 AbuNago, Okinawa
Reservations: 0980-55-8484 (9:00-18:00)
Access: 1 and a half hours by car from Naha Airport
Official Website: https://www.kanucha.jp/en/
Must-Visit Spots in Kagawa Prefecture in 2020: Cherry Blossoms, Dolphins, Bonsai & More
15.March.2020 | SPOT
Appreciation for the Seto Inland Sea in Japan is on the rise: American company Discovery named Shikoku one of its Top 10 must-visit rising locations around the world for 2020, and the city of Setouchi in Okayama has featured as a recommended travel destination in Western media. One particular location, Kagawa Prefecture, has been featured on many international travel sites as a must-visit place, including on Booking.com, Skyscanner, and REMOTE LANDS, with places such as Takamatsu, Teshima, and Shōdo Island being picked up.
Takamatsu is known as the doorstep that brings together the many islands of Seto Inland Sea. It’s a port city with great fresh food, highly convenient for travellers wanting to visit lots of different islands, and a popular region that brings together elements of Japanese culture.
Today, we take a look at some must-visit locations around Takamatsu, including a new facility opening, must-visit spots for spring to early summer, food, and more.
Shikoku Aquarium – The largest aquarium in Shikoku
Shikoku Aquarium is set to be the largest across Shikoku when it opens its doors to the public on March 20, 2020. It’s located inside Utazu Seaside Park in the town of Utazu where it will exhibit the creatures that live in Shikoku and feature the many different seaside landscapes located there. But the aquarium won’t just stop at showcasing animals, it will also be a cultural facility where you can learn about the history, culture, and natural environment of Shikoku, and there’ll be artwork perfect for the Setouchi Triennale contemporary art festival which is held around Seto Inland Sea every three years.
Address: Utazu Rinkaikoen, 4-1 Utazu, Ayauta District, Kagawa
[March 20, 2020 – September 30, 2020] 9:00-18:00
[October 1, 2020 – March 19, 2021] 10:00-18:00
[Golden Week/Summer Break] 9:00-21:00
No Fixed Holidays
Price: General (16+ Years & High School Students) ¥2,200 / Children (Elementary School Students) ¥1,200 / Toddlers (3+ Years) ¥60
Official Website: http://shikoku-aquarium.jp/
Well-Known & Little-Known-Good Cherry Blossom Spots
Kagawa Prefecture is home to many spots that offer beautiful sounds and sights throughout the four seasons. Cherry blossom season is right around the corner in Japan, so let’s take a look at some must-visit spots, both popular and little-known good ones.
Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu)
One of the most famous historical gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Garden is home to around 320 Yoshino cherry trees, whose pink colour reflects beautifully off the lake together with the 1,000 green pine trees.
Marugame Castle (Marugame)
Marugame Castle is one of only 12 castle in Japan to have an original wooden tenshu, or castle tower, built. From the great height of the castle’s stone wall, which is the tallest in Japan, one can gaze down at 1,000 cherry blossom trees in bloom.
Around 3,000 cherry trees bloom on t he island, including Yoshino cherries, yama-zakura, and yae-zakura, which roll from the port to the lighthouse.
Asahiyama Forest Park (Mitoyo)
Asahiyama Forest Park is located on the peak of Mt. Asahi, up 238 meters high. There, you can witness 2,000 vibrant cherry blossom trees bloom in spring, including Yoshino cherries. The park’s observation deck is popular too, offering a 360° panoramic view.
Experience the world of bonsai in Kagawa, the only place in Japan which produces pine bonsai trees
Interest in bonsai trees continues to grow every year not just in Japan but overseas too. The number of people incorporating them into their lives as interior decoration is on the rise. Kagawa Prefecture is the only place in Japan which produces pine bonsai trees, the largest places being Kinashi and Kokubunji in Takamatsu. There are around 60 bonsai makers in both of these towns, so you are sure to spot some if you walk through them.
Official Website: https://takamatsu-bonsai.com/en/
The new Takamatsu Bonsai no Sato is also set to open on April 17, which will include an information centre providing information on bonsai culture in Takamatsu, and there will be workshops too. Whether you’re new to bonsai or a pro, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Takamatsu Bonsai no Sato
Grand Opening: April 17, 2020
Address: 353-1 Kokubunjichō Kokubu, Takamatsu, Kagawa
Travel to Kagawa this spring to enjoy the cherry blossoms and pay a visit to the new Shikoku Aquarium.
Okinawa’s New Hot Spring Resort Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort Opens
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort is the first hotel resort from Vessel Hotels. Operating on the concept of “Loving Yourself, Family, and the Town,” the hotel opened in the town of Chatan in Nakagami, Okinawa on March 1, 2020.
Rooftop Infinity Pool & Cafe/Bar
Sat atop the hotel roof is a spa which houses an infinity pool that offers an unbroken view of Chatan as well as the picturesque sunset in the evenings. There’s also a 3-meter high infinity pool, jacuzzis, and more, offering a luxurious space to relax.
Located to the side of the pool is a cafe and bar that serves a selection of original cocktails and fruity drinks as well as light food. When the sun sets and the evening settles, the pool lights are turned on, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a cup of Japanese sake or one of the refreshing cocktails while staring down at nighttime Chatan.
Vessel Hotel’s First Natural Hot Spring
Chatan Onsen hails as Vessel Hotel’s first-ever natural onsen hot spring. The water is drawn from 1,400m underground, which provides relief and relaxation from a day of sightseeing and travelling. The hot spring has towering windows, and there’s also a sauna for both men and women.
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN – The Relaxation Salon
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN is a “relaxation salon” which offers a Hawaiian-style spa experience using original products made using ingredients sourced in Okinawa. Oils are made with carefully-selected organic ingredients for that natural feeling. There are body treatments, messages, quick treatments, and more.
Filling Breakfasts at the Resort’s Kitchen
Vessel Hotel has brought its “Happy Breakfast Project” to Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort. Tuck into a variety of meals prepared with Okinawan ingredients, or try one of the household classic Okinawan breakfasts. Whatever you have, you are guaranteed the Okinawan experience to start your day off.
The restaurant’s original souffle hamburger is made with a mix of Okinawan black cattle beef and Agu pork. The souffle is made in-house and prepared by the hotel guests’ hands. Food is also served in Okinawan yamuchin porcelain.
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort
Address: 34-2 Mihama, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Opened: March 1, 2020
Official Website: https://www.vessel-hotel.jp/lequ/okinawa/
Kyoto Aquarium to House 20 Types of Jellyfish With New ‘Jellyfish Wonder’ Area
29.February.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Aquarium is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation and is set to reopen on April 29, 2020.
When it reopens, visitors will be able to visit the new jellyfish area, called “Kurage Wonder” (Jellyfish Wonder), which will span 350㎡ in width and 40 meters in length. It will house the largest number of different species in western Japanーup to 20ーwith around 5,000 individual jellyfish to see, like the northern sea nettle and pacific sea nettle.
The area begins at 10 individual water tanks where you can see how moon jellyfish change and grow. It then moves onto the 6.5 meter circumference “GURURI” panorama tank which offers a 360° view of 1,500 moon jellyfish.
This tank is entered through an arch, which once you pass through leads you under the tank where your vision is filled with the sight of countless moon jellyfish.
The new “Kyoto Jellyfish Research Lab” has also been built where guests can observe the staff breeding and researching jellyfish on a day-to-day basis. Enjoy hearing how the jellyfish are cared for behind the scenes while chatting together with the staff. Various other activities you can participate in will be introduced in the future too.
Discover the wonderful world of jellyfish at the newly-renovated Kyoto Aquarium.
Address: 35-1 Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Reopening: April 29, 2020
Access: 15-minutes on foot west from Kyoto Station’s Central Exit / 7-minutes on foot from Umekōji-Kyōtonishi Station via the JR San’in Main Line
Official Website: https://www.kyoto-aquarium.com/en/
NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM: Cherry Blossoms and the Sea Come Together at Tokyo’s Maxell Aqua Park
23.February.2020 | SPOT
Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa has announced the holding of a new exhibition entitled “NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM” which will run at the Tokyo-based aquarium from March 1, 2020 to April 19, 2020.
Offering “cutting-edge Tokyo entertainment,” the exhibition is combined music, lighting, and visuals with living beings. Using the latest in leading edge tech, visitors will be treated to a visual treat of animals living harmoniously with the season. The exhibition promises you will notice something new with each visit. Enter a world of spring like never before as cherry blossoms and the ocean come together through digital art.
Cherry Blossom Tayori
The entrance to the aquarium will be in full bloom with cherry blossoms. The water tanks in the centre will be perfectly pink and house madai snapper, a type of fish also nicknamed “sakura-dai” around this season.
Spilling Cherry Blossoms
This area will be like an atrium, with water tanks and showcases lined up beautifully next to each other and decorated with cherry blossom art flowers. The water tanks, which bring to mind the image of a “banquet,” will house sakura-dai, sea goldie, and other fishes.
Dancing Cherry Blossom Garden
In the immersive Patterns area, you can see the “possibilities” of the four seasons as digital art works to combine a seasonal landscape with the sea creatures on display.
Also in the Dancing Cherry Blossom Garden will be Cape penguins who will put on a performance using their physical abilities. The performance, which is split into two parts, will make use of projection mapping. The first part will see the bloom of yaezakura cherry trees, while the second part will have jacaranda, also called the “purple cherry blossom,” a flower that blooms in South Africa where Cape penguins originate.
Dolphin Performance Day Version – Cherry Blossom Dance
The daytime dolphin performance sees visitors gathering in the amphitheatre. This interactive performance is inspired by springtime banquets and Hanami flower-viewing. Enjoy seeing the dolphins dance high-speed to the rhythm of Japanese rock music.
Dolphin Performance Night Version – Cherry Blossom Story
The nighttime dolphin performance uses the water, lighting, visuals, and music to celebrate cherry blossoms in the evening. Enjoy a more delicate, but powerful performance from the dolphins, and see the flowers in all their beauty.
Jewellery Fish Rumble
The ceiling and walls of the spacious Jewellery Fish Rumble area all have reflective mirror surfaces. Countless pink and blue illuminations light up this evening cherry blossom-themed area, where you can enjoy a digital Hanami experience together with the jellyfish.
Katou Flower Lantern
The NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM cafe and bar is adorned with a cylindrical water tank with illuminated coral. The cafe/bar is inspired by Katou, which is when the evening light feels like it is being lit up by fully bloomed cherry blossom flowers. The menu includes a selection of cherry blossom and matcha drinks, as well as a selection of sweet treats perfect for the Hanami season.
3 Dango & Mini Taiyaki – ¥500 (Red Bean Paste/Cream)
Sakura Mizu-warabi Rice Cake – ¥500
Enjoy a completely different kind of Hanami experience at Maxwell Aqua Park.
*Photos are for illustrative purposes only
NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM at Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa
Running: March 1, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Address: Shinagawa Prince Hotel, 4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Prices: General (High School Students and Older) ¥2,300 / Elementary-Middle School Students ¥1,200 / Children (4+ Years) ¥700
Exhibition Page: http://www.aqua-park.jp/special/snowaquarium2019/en_index.html
Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa Official Website: http://www.aqua-park.jp/aqua/en/
5 Must-Visit Beautiful and Romantic Lantern Festivals in Japan | 2020 Edition
02.February.2020 | SPOT
The season for Japan’s enchanting and romantic lantern events has finally arrived, and the line-up this year is diverse, from events where lanterns are the main attraction to lantern-lined festivals and Japanese matsuri festivals.
Hankyu Travel International compiled a list of these events , and we’ve pulled out some of the best ones for you.
Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru | Iwate Prefecture
This year marks the third run of “Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru,” an event held during winter for guests staying at Hanamaki Onsen. The event is comprised of many elements, including fireworks, folk entertainment, and more. People will also write wishes and messages or draw pictures on their lanterns before sending them up into the winter night sky. Afterwards, they can enjoy a dip in the hot springs at Hanamaki Onsen to warm themselves up and unwind from the day.
Running: January 26, 2020/February 22, 2020/February 11, 2020/February 16, 2020/February 24, 2020
Location: Namari Ski Center
Address: Nakadaira-36-1 Namari, Hanamaki, Iwate
China Lantern Festival | Chiba Prefecture
Tokyo German Village is hosting its second China Lantern Festival, inspired by the typical traditional festivals held in China during spring. A selection of 30 lantern installations of varying sizes made by the world’s biggest lantern maker Lantern Group have been set up in the 50,000 square meter area. Pieces include lanterns over 10 meters long and high, lanterns floating on the water, moving lanterns, and more.
Running: November 23, 2019 – April 5, 2020
Location: Tokyo German Village
Address: 419 Nagayoshi, Sodegaura, Chiba
Tsunan Yuki Matsuri | Niigata Prefecture
Since 2012, the people of Tsunan in Niigata have raised sky lanterns into the sky to pray for the revival from the disaster that the Tohoku earthquake brought in 2011. It is a two-day festival, with the first day of the event taking place at night, and the second being the main day of the festival. The festival is so popular that tickets never fail to sell out quickly every year. It brings with it a host of events, from the lanterns to the snowboard straight jumping tournament, the hanging of snow lanterns, snowmobile rides, and more.
Running: March 14, 2020 (There will also be a lantern event the night before on March 13, 2020)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan
Address: 12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata
▼Niigata Tsunan Sky Lantern Festival Tour
Nagasaki Lantern Festival | Nagasaki Prefecture
This festival was originally held during the Chinese New year by the people of Nagasaki Chinatown, but in 1994 it was given the name “Nagasaki Lantern Festival.” To date, it has been attended by over 1 million people. This year, around 15,000 lanterns of varying sizes are set to light the streets. Taking place across several areas, some standout pieces include the peach-coloured lanterns at Nagasaki Chinatown, the ceiling lanterns at Hamanomachi Arcade, the water lanterns at Nagashimagawa Park, and more. On weekends, there are also parades, traditional Chinese performance, and other exciting events. And if you head to Nagasaki Confucian Shrine (also known as Koshi-byo), you can offer a love lantern to pray for happiness in your relationship.
Running: January 24, 2020 – February 9, 2020
Locations: Nagasaki Chinatown/Central Park/Tojin Yashiki/and elsewhere
Address: Various places throughout the city of Nagasaki
▼Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Hankyu Travel International Tour: Hankyu Travel International
Nagasaki Tourism Page: https://travel.at-nagasaki.jp/en/what-to-see/62/
Ryukyu Lantern Festival 2019-2020 | Okinawa Prefecture
Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park is known for having originally been used as the set for several historical drama series, and was subsequently turned into a theme park after filming was finished. The Ryukyu Lantern Festival welcomes a variety of different lanterns, including Chinese lanterns, paper lanterns, various Asian lanterns, and more, each of which bring a completely different atmosphere depending on the area you are in. This year sees the welcome return of the annual lantern contest where 45 individual lantern pieces are exhibited. There are also different street performances every day on the Night Lantern Stage, as well as projection mapping displays, the Night Lantern Cafe, and more.
Running: December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020
Location: Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park
Address: 1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa
Murasaki Mura Official Website: https://murasakimura.com/
Be part of one of Japan’s many beautiful lantern festivals this year and witness some seriously breathtaking night scenes.
▼Hankyu Travel International – Japan Travel & Tours